Anti-tobacco rally held at Utah State Capitol

SALT LAKE CITY — People gathered at the Utah State Capitol Thursday morning for a rally supporting tighter tobacco laws.

When it comes to tobacco prevention, Utah is lagging behind the rest of the nation. The American Lung Association has came out with a recent report basically giving Utah an F grade when it comes to tobacco prevention.

Anti-tobacco organizations joined health leaders and students in calling for some sweeping changes that will protect the community from the harmful effects of tobacco. They said they are calling on lawmakers to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco from 19 to 21.

Health leaders at the Capitol said they are also trying to regulate the use of e-cigarettes.

Aaron Frazier, the Director at Utah Vapers, issued this statement regarding the Senate bill that would raise the minimum age requirement for tobacco sales and regulate electronic cigarette sales:

The Utah Vapers is going on record to oppose SB0012 “Age limit for Tobacco and related products” as it is currently drafted. If enacted as written, this bill would:

Raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products (and by default e-cigarettes) to 21. Create a prohibition of online retail sales of electronic cigarette related products to and from Utah.

While the Utah Vapers does support efforts to control youth access of tobacco and related products, Senator Reid has included language in section 76-10-105-1 (buried near the bottom of the bill) which if passes as written, will create an online prohibition of electronic cigarettes for the state of Utah. This means that NO Utah resident will be legally able to purchase products online from anywhere in the world. This also bans Utah retailers from having the ability to compete with the 2000+ online retailers across the United States or service Utah residents located in rural areas that have no access to physical retail outlets.

Senator Reid believes this will save consumers money and elevate state revenue through added sales tax by forcing residents to purchase in-state. However, due to the highly restrictive zoning requirements which retail locations are forced into, our retailers are unable to open leaving online stores as the only available option. The Utah Vapers believes this will force e-cigarette consumers in rural areas of the state back to smoking deadly cigarettes.

We are encouraging the Utah Legislature to set up an investigative bi-partisan committee to undertake a formal review of the body of research on electronic cigarettes before passing any further laws on this topic. To date, all decisions and laws passed were done based on information from the Tobacco Control organizations which are not providing all available data on electronic cigarettes to our lawmakers. This committee should be charged with meeting with researchers, health professionals, public and the industry to study all aspects to truly understand the impact to both the Utah population and the small businesses that support the consumers throughout the state and country.

At no time has Senator Reid or any of his staff reached out to the Utah Vapers or our members to truly understand the impact this will have on the community who rely upon these products to remain smoke-free. We have reached out to his office this week to request a meeting so we can discuss the business and population level impact of his proposal but have not received a response at this time.

6 comments

  • mr. rico

    Good because I cannot remember ever living anyplace other than one other state where so many people were stinking the place up with heavy smoking fumes.

    They open their car doors and it just reeks of smoke. People just don’t realize how offensive smoking is and how much it harms not only their health but those around them. Smoking is a nasty habit that should be kept at home.

    No public smoking is the best policy.

  • Karl

    Wow. Look at all those people. Wish I had all day to go sit around at the capital, figuring out how to take away the right of people other than myself. I love that they are trying to raise the limit to 21 because it is a deadly habit. You can join the army at 18 though. That won’t kill you.

  • Freedom

    Don’t know why they trying to raise the age limit and the prices for….
    They should try to figure out how to stop illegal drugs instead of cigarettes that we have the right to smoke if we want. First it was the alcohol and now cigarettes! Whats next? How to eat and sleep! Thats just ridiculous!!!

  • C

    I’m still in awe at how they can call mixing propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and food flavorings, and call it a tobacco product. Even when it does contain Nicotine, it is in liquid form at the tiniest amount.. .4% of an entire bottle for 4mg strength (that’s point four.. not 4), which is less than 1/2 of 1% (for those that are math challenged). Of THAT .4%, only 10% is actually nicotine, if using 100mg Nicotine base, because nicotine is mixed in a Propylene Glycol base (can also be a vegetable glycerin base). ALL those ingredients are FDA approved!! And Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerin and Food grade flavorings are all FDA approved for human consumption. They’re in your baked goods, cake frosting, candy, margarine, the solution you clean your eye contacts in before you put them in your eyes.. and even in asthma inhalers! So almost every one of us is either eating or inhaling what is in electron cigarettes already.. except the liquid nicotine.

    Combustible cigarettes are FAR more dangerous, with their THOUSANDS of cancer causing chemicals that the tobacco leaves are sprayed with to enhance flavor and the drying procedure. OF those thousands of chemicals (most of which occur during the combustion, the burning, of the cigarette), nicotine is one of the addictive chemicals, BUT NOT one of the cancerous causing ones.

    I think if they’re going to outlaw anything.. it very well should be traditional cigarettes! The only reason they’re even classifying electronic cigarettes as a tobacco product, is to get all up in arms about the dangers it COULD cause to minors (without any scientific proof), so they can then put a huge unjustified tax amount on them. The people who ARE smokers, and most of whom have been smokers for many many years, have found a way to reduce their risk, to themselves and their family members, and to improve their health. I say leave them alone!

    Posted by a Life-long NON-Smoker, who’s sick of people advocating to take away the rights of others.

  • C

    BTW.. for those of you who eat tomatoes, peppers, egg plants… etc. Any plant of the Night Shade variety.. you are eating nicotine in small traces, because It is a naturally occurring substance in all those vegetable plants.It just takes more of them to subtract the nicotine from them, than it does from the tobacco leaf, which has it at a higher amounts (takes less tobacco leaves to achieve the desired amount).
    I know these things because I EDUCATE myself on it. I don’t just simply go by what our fear-mongering government would like us to believe.

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